So much of the stuff in our house is going through the slow breaking down. Various items aren't dead, and in most cases, they aren't even on their last legs....well, maybe they are, and we are just keeping them on life support and don't realize it.
Our living room television is one such item.
Once it warms up, it is fine, but the screen looks crazy for about the first 15 minutes. It has been this way for a number of years, and we haven't replaced it because to borrow a Monty Python line, "it's not dead yet."
My washer and dryer are another two examples. They are loud, squeaky and annoying, but they still clean and dry ok, so we are listening to the loud, squeaky and annoying sounds.
The Roman shade in the master bedroom broke so that if we do try to raise it, it is lopsided, so we just don't raise it.
There is a part of me that would really just love to go out and buy new stuff. Replace the shade with plantation shutters. Buy a new washer/dryer combo which really isn't too terribly expensive since I only wash with cold water, and I only dry on low, so I don't need steaming and turbo-super-active-wash and hyper-sensitive-sensational-dry. Our 40" tv could be replaced for much less than what we purchased it for however-many years ago we purchased it.
But to do that would make me feel guilty.
I know it is just stuff, but I went through a period in my 20s where I read all the comics in the newspaper because I felt like Gil Thorp and Apartment 3-G would get their feelings hurt if I didn't read them, too, so it is within my worldview to feel irrational about nonliving entities. I really want to thank Siri when she sends voice texts for me, but I stop myself and then feel bad about it.
But that isn't the real reason we haven't replaced these no-longer-giving-100% household items.
The first reason is the spending money.
The second (and real) reason is a real moral conundrum.
I am having deep thoughts about both the intrinsic value of older things versus the place where you know an older thing's time and contribution is over. And even though on the surface, it is about my washer and dryer and television, it is really about my parents and myself and Papaw Chester.
I have been considering the steps that people take in order to extend their lives. I do not judge others for whatever choices they make, but I am definitely mulling over what choices I might make should the choice ever need to be made. We can often extend life for a very long time beyond what is actual, qualitative living.
Papaw's house is cleaned out and going on the market tomorrow. I have some of his walking sticks that are waiting for me to polyurethane them.
I have his pillows made from his shirts throughout the house.
I have a pile of photo and whatmenots in the basement waiting to be sorted through.
It has been sad to see the remnants of his life....what was left when he left. I do not and never will understand when families get their panties in a wad over the stuff that remains after a loved one dies. The most important thing is gone so who gives a fuck about the rest of it?
Papaw Chester was in decline, but still carrying on. He wasn't sick but he was well within the slow breaking down.
Like my washer and dryer and television.
My parents are healthy but advancing in age.
I am healthy but advancing in age.
The slow breaking down happens to most of us.
At what point do you keep sticking it out and at what point do you decline to try to fix it?
I have yet to meet an appliance (or an automobile) that just dies, that just falls down dead the way Papaw Chester did.
Most of them drag their owners through a slow hemorrhage of expense and frustration and noise-making and half-cleaned clothes or overcooked food.
I'm not sure I want to drag others along in a slow hemorrhage of expense and frustration or be a part of the process myself.
Whether it is household items or humans.